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Seoul: Won, shares slide on dollar strength, IMF growth cut

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[SEOUL] The South Korean won and shares slumped early on Wednesday as the greenback rose to a four-month high on positive US economic data and risk-aversion returned after the International Monetary Fund cut global growth forecasts.

The won was quoted at 1,139.3 as of 0211 GMT, down 0.3 per cent compared with Tuesday's close of 1,135.5.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi), which had risen for six straight sessions before falling on Tuesday, was down 0.2 per cent at 2,011.95 points.

"Most of the equities that have recently rallied are getting weaker on revived risk-off sentiment," said Jung Sung-yoon, a foreign exchange analyst at Hyundai Futures.

He said investors were looking ahead to Thursday's meeting of the European Central Bank, which could indirectly provide clues to the won's direction.

Offshore investors were poised to mark their 10th straight buying session. They purchased a net 54.3 billion Korean won (S$64.5 million) worth of Kospi shares near mid-session.

Web portal Naver Corp lost 3.1 per cent while chipmaker SK Hynix Inc declined by 1.4 per cent.

Decliners outnumbered advancers 445 to 329.

September futures on three-year treasury bonds held steady at 111.09.